Unacceptable risk: Line 5 must go
We are called to be good stewards of God’s creation and because of this we should do everything in our power to protect and care for it.
That includes being wise about how we use natural resources and demonstrate accountability for how we treat nature.
One of the ways that we in Michigan can be true to our call for the earth is by putting an end to the Line 5 oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.
We are all connected to the land we walk on, the air we breathe and the water we drink. That is why we can no longer ignore the fact Line 5, which was meant to have a lifespan of 50 years yet is pushing 70 years old, is degrading under our precious waterway.
The threat of an oil spill in the Straits is real. An oil spill would not only be catastrophic to the habitats of fisheries and wildlife, our own drinking water would be at jeopardy.
Clean-up efforts would be substantial. Every Michigan community that borders the water’s edge would be at jeopardy, as would be the many small mom-and-pop businesses that operate in our towns and villages.
Line 5 first began transporting propane to the Upper Peninsula’s Rapid River plant in 1996 — only 25 years ago. Before that, the U.P. used virtually the same amount of propane as we use today, and it was all distributed by truck and rail without issue.
There are alternatives to receiving propane that are safer than continuing to operate this aging infrastructure below our waterways or encasing it in a tunnel that will also be detrimental to the long-term stability of our precious source of clean drinking water.
The water we drink connects us. For far too long, we have put our drinking water at risk by allowing Line 5 to exist between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
Enbridge Energy, which runs the pipeline, will have its 67-year easement revoked by the State of Michigan on May 12.
Enbridge has stated they will ignore the deadline. We call upon Enbridge to comply with the order and start the process of removing this dangerous pipeline from beneath the waterways.
Companies that operate on our vital waterways and put them at risk must be held accountable to keep our environment safe.
All of humanity is called by God to love and care for each other and for all of creation, the issue of the danger of Line 5 is of grave importance to the entire Great Lakes ecosystem and our communities in the Basin.
We ask you to call on your elected officials to assure Michigan waters, our people, fish, and livelihoods are protected.
Editor’s note: Bishop Rayford Ray is with The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan. Bishop Bonnie A. Perry is with The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan. Assisting Bishop Gladstone B. Adams III is with The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern and Western Michigan.